Musings on Vista Dogfooding

Here at Castle Microsoft, things are slowly moving from simmer towards the boil on the Vista and Office launches. To this end, I'm running Vista on three machines, and Office 2007 B2 Tech Refresh on two of those. My findings so far, I have to say, have been more positive than negative. Particular highlights? Well, the new UI is fresh without being obtrusive (despite my lack of driver support for enabling Glass/Aero), and ReadyBoost has become my new favourite feature.

For those who are unaware, Vista's ReadyBoost feature allows you to use fast removable storage devices as a kind of pseudo-RAM, boosting your PC's memory capabilities cheaply and easily. I currently have 2x 1Gb memory keys plugged into my 2Gb RAM Alienware Area 51 and can report it really does seem to run better. The problem is now I'm going to want to keep them there permanently, or add another 2Gb of real RAM. So, ReadyBoost efficiently causes extra expenditure, we can say.

Downpoints? Well I've been having a hell of a time with WMDC (Windows Mobile Device Center). I'm running an internal build, and while it's improved over the first version I installed, I'm still unable to correctly sync my I-Mate Sp3i Smartphone's Contacts and Calendar. Email syncs OK, but I don't use that much - it's the calendar I miss, as my phone has been how I organise my day for some time now. With out-of-date calendar entries, I'm struggling.

What other downsides are there? well, Rise of Nations won't run - but then that wouldn't run on Windows Server 2003 either, so no great loss. I'm also finding issues on my work laptop (not highly specced, sadly), such as Vista thinking I'm holding down the Win key when docked (making keyboard input, err... interesting). I'm also liking the sidebar and gadgets, and my killer app? Media Center. Yes, I know this was available before Vista, but Vista is what prompted me to try it out. I've got our XBox 360 running as a media center extender now, so I can listen to my MP3 collection and watch stored video from the XBox instead of fuelling my addiction to Lego Star Wars II. All I need now is a decent tuner and aerial and my TV experience will be complete.

Now if only Australian TV would show something worthwhile...

posted @ Monday, October 2, 2006 2:42 PM

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